McIntosh County, Oklahoma

Crime News from McIntosh County, OK

Carpie Barehead Executed

Carpie Barehead, a young Creek outlaw, was executed at Eufala, Indian Territory, Tuesday, in Indian fashion, being shot to death while seated on his coffin by the Creek Light Horse Guards. Carpie was 18 years old. He had murdered an entire family and recently killed a preacher. He was betrayed by his friends for the reward. (Salt Lake Evening Democrat, August 7, 1885, front page)

Killed Man and Wife Who Resisted Arrest
Oklahoma City, O. T. July 31 – After investigation it is found that the name of the man and wife killed by officers on Deep Fork River, near Eufaula, was J. L. Broom instead of J. H Coleman. A deed to 600 acres of land in White County, Arkansas, was found in the dead man’s pockets. Other papers found indicated that he was an ex-convict, but the place was not given.
Broom’s wife began firing when the officers appeared in order to protect her husband, who had their four-month-a-old babe in his arms. A bullet, however, killed him while he still held the infant. Broom and his wife were buried today at Eufaula, I. T. (Herald Democrat, August, 1905, front page)

County Clerk Julian Killed the Man that Tried to Kill Him in his Room
The people of McIntosh County and especially of Checotah are greatly pained that our County Clerk Ed. Julian was compelled to shoot and kill a man by the name of Dunlap, of Eufaula.
As there was no one present when the shooting occurred except the ones engaged in the shooting, we give the account as narrated by Mr. Julian to a reporter of The Times Democrat, and all the circumstances and surroundings prove conclusively the correctness of Julian’s statement.
The Democrat Says:
Guarded by twenty special deputies, citizens of Eufaula, the sheriff and his deputies having been absent for three days Julian was taken to the train at Eufaula last night, and in charge of County Judge Rushing, Prosecuting Attorney Beubelt and county Commissioner Roach Burton, rushed to Muskogee to prevent further trouble.
Ed Julian, who is Cherokee by blood, was seen in the United States Jail this morning by a Times-Democrat reporter and told the following story of last nights tragedy.
Julian Tells Of Shooting
“About 9 o’clock last night I was lying on my bed in my room on the third floor of the Foley hotel at Eufaula when I heard two persons talking out in the hall. I heard one of the men say, That’s his room, there in No. 7.” I then heard one of the men retreat down the hall to another room and then a rap came at my door. I said, Come in, but instead of entering there was another knock on the door. I repeated my invitation to come in, but a voice from the outside said, Come to the door, I want to see you.
I went to the door and opened it and Dunlap said, This is Ed Julian?
I replied that I was.
Well then you, g-d-s-o-a-b, I’ve come for you, he replied, and at the same time drew his gun which he carried shoved down in his trousers.
I yelled as loud as I could not to murder me, thinking that in that way I might attract the attention of some one in the hotel but no one came. I do not know who fired the first shot, but I remember a bullet grazing my trouser’s leg as I in some manner fell to the floor and shot at Dunlap. I don’t know how many times I shot, I had been warned several times during the day by friends that Dunlap had been making threats against me and when he came to my door I knew it was just a question of either die or fight.
Ed Julian appears like a quiet unassuming citizen and is greatly liked by those who know him. He came to Indian Territory from Georgia about 20 years ago and has been living about ? miles southeast of Chectoah. He is 42 years of age, a Democrat and unmarried. He seemed greatly perturbed over the tradegy but pleads self defense.
General Dunlap, the dead man who was about 35 years of age, leaves a wife and one child. For a number of years Dunlap was a deputy United States Marshal under Dr. Leo, Dr. Bennet and more recently he’d been in the employ of the Muskogee Transfer company in this city. Dunlap at one time lived at Checotah but afterwards moved to Eufaula where he took an active interest in Eufaula’s campaign for the formation of the county seat. ? two months ago he had been mixed up in a controversy with an Indian boy named ? McIntosh and as a result out on bond, charged with the intent to kill, having said to have cut the boy up pretty bad. Julian stood in great fear of Dunlap and has been ? nervous since affairs being summed such seriousness as the county seat war.
…….. enemies of Julian to visit him in the jail.
Armed men, including many negroes, are said to have patrolled the streets of Eufaula yesterday to prevent the Checotahites from making way with the county records and after Julian’s arrest last nigy by Marshal Kaiser of Eufaula every precaution was taken to protect Julian’s life. It is said that Dunlap had been drinking yesterday. Up until noon today everything was reported as being quiet at both Checotah and Eufaula, and the men were disarming, although an effort is said to have been made to have the governor declare the town of Eufaula under martial law. The feelings is still running high between the rival towns in the county seat war, but the good citizens of both towns are hoping to avert further bloodshed and cause further disgrace upon the fair name of Oklahoma and McIntosh county. (   Checotah Times, June 12, 1908, page 1)


A shooting occurred at the home of John Shadix, 2-1/2 miles southwest of Checotah Wednesday morning and as a result Tuck Thornsberry is dead and Sam Shadix is lodged in jail at Muskogee.
Soon after the shooting a jury of twelve men was impaneled and after hearing the testimony of witnesses gave a verdict that Thornsberry came to his death from wounds from the gun of Sam Shadix. Sheriff Odom was notified of the tragedy and hurried to the scene where he took charge of Shadix and took him to Muskogee that night.
The facts in the case as near as can be ascertained are about as follows, Shadix owed Thornsberry some money and a day or two before Thornsberry had told some friends that he guessed he would go over and see Shadix and see if he couldn’t get it. When he reached the Shadix home Wednesday morning Mr. John Shadix and some members of his family were at the barn working. Thornsberry talked with them a while and finally asked where Sam was. He was told that Sam was at the house about 50 yards distance. Thornsberry mounted his horse and started toward the house when Shadix came around the corner and opened fire on him before a word had been spoken by either party. Thornsberry wheeled his horse around when he was shot three times in the back, twice in the body and one once in the thigh. He fell from his horse dead. (rest of article unreadable) (Checotah Times, June 12, 1908, page 3)
Lee Caps Shot and Killed at his Home

Muskogee, OK., Jan 19—Lee Capps, 20 years old, was shot and killed at his home at Brush Hill, a few miles southwest of Checotah, Ok., last evening, and the Coroner's jury returned a verdict today that he had come to his death by a gunshot wound administered by D. F. Killingsworth, a Deputy Sheriff. Killingsworth and Capps were brothers-in-law and quarreled. Killingsworth was arrested. He will plead self-defense.
(Source: The Evening News, Ada, Oklahoma, January 20, 1910 - Submitted by Cathy Danielson)

Another Tragedy, Lee Capps Killed by Davis Killingsworth Tuesday Near Pierce

Lee Capps is dead and Davis Killingsworth is in the custody of officials, charged with the crime as the result of a tragedy that was enacted near Pierce Tuesday evening. Details of the affair are difficult to secure but it is said Capps made threats to take the life of Killingsworth who armed himself preparatory to an act of that kind. The boys met Tuesday evening about a half mile south of the Killingsworth home where the shooting occurred, the bullet from Killingsworth’s gun entering Capps’ right side and producing almost instant death. There were no spectators to the affair. Capps was on his horse and was dragged for some distance before his body became released from his saddle.

Capps is a son of B. Y. Capps, a prominent citizen of Pierce and Killingswoth a son of Deputy Sheriff M. Y. Killingsworth. The boys were brothers in law, having married daughters of former Justice of the Peace Newt Hicks. For some time bad feeling had existed between the two families which culminated in the tragedy.

A jury composed of E. H. McCracken, J. W. Brandon, J. B. Halters, James Robertson, Doc Roland and A. J. Reeves was impaneled immediately following the shooting who returned the verdict that Capps came to his death from a gun shot wound at the hand of D. F. Killingsworth.

Killigsworth’s preliminary hearing occurred Thursday afternoon before Justice of the Peace Aud at this place after which County Attorney Reubelt recommended to Judge Cole that a bond of $2000 be required which was furnished by friends of the defendant. (The Checotah Times, Friday, January 21, 1910, front page)

Two Fatal Tragedies – Shooting Affairs at Stidham and Grayson Last Sunday

A shooting occurred at Stidham Sunday evening and as a result Tom Pemberton is dead and Carl Cloud is in the county jail at Eufaula charged with the crime. The tragedy occurred late in the evening and was witnessed by a large number of people. Bad blood is said to have existed between the principals for some time and about a week ago they engaged in a fist fight when friends interfered. When they met Sunday guns were drawn with the result above stated. Justice of the Peace G. A. Bullard happened to be in town when the shooting occurred and immediately placed Cloud under arrest and took him to Eufaula. It is strongly intimated that one of the leading Stidham business men is implicated in the deed to the extent of having furnished the weapon.

At Grayson on Sunday a bad negro shot and almost instantly killed the city marshal, also colored, while the latter was attempting to make an arrest. The man who did the shooting immediately fled and at last reports has not been apprehended. (The Checotah Times, Friday, February 18, 1910, front page)

Wadsworth Bound Over

The preliminary hearing of Pude Wadsworth for the killing of Grant Harris at Cathay last week was held Saturday and Monday before Justice Richardson at the old commissioner’s court room. Many witnesses were examined and the hearing resulted in the defendant being bound over to the district court, the size of the bond to be determined by Judge Cole of McAlester. (The Checotah Times, Friday, March 18, 1910, front page)

Sheriff Tatum of McAlester in City

Sheriff Tatum of McAlester, Pittsburg county was in the city Saturday. He came up and got the worm who furnished to tools to the prisoners who broke jail at McAlester last week. Officers caught Bruce Hearst also near Indianola. Hearst shot Jim Riley, city marshal, of Canadian two months ago. (Hanna Star, April 12, 1911)

In Penitentiary for Safe-Keeping

McAlester, Okla., April 6 - Henry Bookman, negro, charged with killing Richard Hardin, a white farmer of McIntosh County was brought here hurriedly last night from Eufaula. The negro is in the penitentiary for safe keeping. (The Daily Ardmoreite, April 7, 1915)

An Early Trial to Satisfy the Public

McAlester, Okla., April 10 - In order to satisfy the demands of McIntosh county citizens who were prevented from mob violence when sheriff Mccune spirited the prisoner away from Eufaula jail and lodged him in the state penitentiary for safe keeping. County Attorney John F. Vaughn of McIntosh county came here today and arranged with District Judge R. W. Higins for speedy trial of Henry Bookman, negro, charged with killing Rich Harding, white farmer. Bookman has not been arraigned yet, and Vaughn feared to take him to Eufaula unless quick trial was assured. Trial is set for May 21 at special adjourned session of the district court. (the Daily Ardmoreite, April 11, 1915)

To Receive Death Sentence

Eufaula, Okla., May 24 - Sentence of death will be pronounced May 29, on Henry Bookman, a negro, convicted in district court of having killed Richard Hardin, a white man, April 2, last. Bookman is the first person in McIntosh county to receive a sentence of death. (The Daily Ardmoreite, May 25, 1915)

Electrocutions Won't Take Place

McAlester, Okla., - Although two electrocutions were scheduled for the state prison this week, they will not take place. To Rich Moorehead, a negro, the state courts has granted a new trial, while the date for the execution of Henry Bookman has been set forward to December 10. (Tulsa Daily World, October 28, 1915)

Condemned Negro Breaks Silence

Electrocution will take Place Friday Morning - Talks of Impending Death - Asks for Music

McAlester, Okla., Dec. 8 - The sickening sensation of a last hope fled and the fright of an impending and inevitable death threw Henry Bookman into a feverish panic which made him an ill man and parched his throat until it deprived him of all use of his voice.

That was the explanation given by Bookman Wednesday of the physical condition which prison officals took for feigned insanity. The explanation was given in signs and monosyllables, largely in answer to questions from the prison chaplain, Rev. A. B. Johnson but they were the first words which prison employees have heard from the condemned negro since early in October, when he was told that the criminal court of appeals had affirmed the judgment of the trial court, fixing his punishment at death.

Bookman indicated that he had made his peace with God and was ready to die, but expressed a terrible dread of electrocution. At his request the prison orchestra played for him Wednesday afternoon int he runway outside the prison chamber. The exact hour of electrocution Friday morning has not been made public. Members of the board of affairs will be among the witnesses. (The daily Ardmoreite, December 9, 1915)

Bookman to Die Dec. 10

Unless Governor Williams intervenes with executive clemency, Henry Bookman, a negro, will be electrocuted in the penitentiary at McAlester, Friday, December 10. It will be the first electrocution in the history of the state and the first legal infliction of the death penalty in Oklahoma in several years.

Bookman was convicted of the murder of a white man in McIntosh county. His sentence has been affirmed by the criminal court of appeals and the record of his case has been before the govenor for several weeks. Shortly after his sentence was affirmed, Booman is alleged to have feigned insanity, but the fact that he is not insane has been established by the prison authority.

While no intimation has been given by the governor as to what he will do, it is generally believed that he will not interfere. He has repeatedly stated that he will never commute a death sentence unless some unusual condition exists.

Installation of the death chair in the penitentiary was completed several months ago. The law provides that the execution shall be performed by the warden or one of his deputies. Warden R. W. Dick is known to be an avowed opponent to the infliction of the death penalty and it is expected he will designate one of his deputies to turn on the current if the execution is held. (The Liberal Democrat, December 17, 1915)


Negro Murderers Captured – Cecil and Will Towery in Eufaula Jail Charged with the Murder of Oil Man

Cecil and Will Towery, confessed slaves of Charles Vaughn, a Morris oil man, were lodged in the county jail at Eufaula Monday. They will be given a speedy trial with all indications that both will go to the electric chair at McAlester.

Begging and pleading for his life, offering money if they would permit him to live, Charles Vaughn suffered a horrible death at the hands of two of the most fiendish murderers ever held in an Oklahoma jail, according to the confession of the slayers themselves.

Charles Vaughn, the Morris oil man whose body was found in the tonneau of is automobile at the side of a road between Hoffman and Morris Friday evening, befriended Will and Cecil Towery by offering them a “lift.” Vaughn was driving from Morris to Hoffman and overtook the Towery brothers. The complete confession of Will Towery, voluntarily made following his surrender to the sheriff’s force at Tulsa Sunday, sickened the hearts of listeners when details of the horrible tragedy were related.

When within three miles of Hoffman, his destination, Vaughn stopped his car and climbed into the tonneau where the negroes were riding. He looked under the cushion of the seat.

He said we stole a bottle of whiskey, relates Will Towney in his confession.

A quarrel followed. The negro says Vaughn threatened to turn them over to “de law” when they reached Hoffman if they did not produce the liquor. Vaugn called them a pair of thieves, Towery told officers.

Will Towery, according to his own confession, grabbed Vaughn while Cecil Towney whipped out a razor. While one of the brothers struggled with the oil man, pulling his head back, the other fiend slashed him twice across the neck, cutting him from ear to ear. (The Checotah Times, Friday, August 11, 1916, front page)

Eufaula, Okla., Aug. 8 – Ten minutes before the arrival early this morning of a mob of 150 or more men from Okmulgee and Morris intent upon lynching Will and Cecil Towery, confessed murderers of Charles Vaughn, oil man, near Hoffman Saturday night, Sheriff J. U. McCune, who was keeping a personal guard over the jail rushed the two negroes out of the place at the point of a gun hurried them to a place twenty feet away from the road over which the mob entered town. The sheriff had received a telephone “tip” from Okmulgee.

Later the negroes were taken to the state penitentiary at McAlester. (The Checotah Times, Friday, August 11, 1916, front page)

Convicted Man is Fighting Penalty

Oklahoma City, Aug. 27 – Modification of his death sentence to life imprisonment or a new trial was asked by Proctor McDonald, 23, in an application filed by his attorneys in the criminal court of appeals today.

The attorneys claimed McDonald had been convicted of slaying Raymond Butler, 8, son of an Oilton druggist only because he was associated with the actual slayer. Elmer Higgins was shot to death by the druggist when Higgins and McDonald allegedly attempted to rob the Butlers in October, 1931. (The Daily Ardmoreite, Sunday, August 28, 1932, page 5)

Towery Gets a Reversal

Right of an accused person to remain silent when charged with crime and the rule of evidence that such silence cannot be used against the person on trial of the case, was upheld in the criminal court of appeals in an opinion by Judge Rutherford Brett in the case of Will Towery vs State of Oklahoma. The case was reversed and remanded.

Towery, a negro was under death sentence from the McIntosh county district court for participation in the murder of Charles Vaughn, oil man, August 4, 1916. His brother, Cecil Towery was electrocuted at McAlester for his part in the crime.

Only evidence that Will Towery had anything to do with the murder according to the opinion, outside of the fact that he was present and fled was the statement of an officer, who testified that Cecil Towery told him in Will’s presence that the latter gave him the knife with which he cut Vaughn’s throat, and that Will Towery did not deny or affirm his brother’s statement. (The Haskell News, March 22, 1917, page 2)

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